Monday, July 03, 2006

Egyptian girl, 10, used as slave in US home

Two Egyptian nationals have pleaded guilty to enslaving a 10-year-old girl in their California home and forcing her to work 16-hour days as a domestic servant, prosecutors said on Friday.

Abdelnasser Eid Youssef Ibrahim, 45, and his ex-wife Amal Ahmed Ewisabd Motelib, 43, have each pleaded guilty to four felony counts in a United States District Court indictment under a deal with federal prosecutors that calls for sentences of three years in prison.

In the plea agreement, the defendants admitted bringing the girl to the US in 2000 under an arrangement with her parents, confiscating her passport and forcing her to work 16 hours a day for the next two years as a domestic servant.

The girl was required to assist the couple's youngest children in getting ready for school, prepare and serve food, clean the home, do laundry and work in the yard.

She was not allowed to attend school and was told she would be arrested if she was spotted alone outside their home. The couple each admitted slapping the girl at least once to get her to work, the plea agreement said.

"Forcing such a young and vulnerable child into these involuntary working conditions is unconscionable," Assistant Attorney General Wan Kim said.

"The Department of Justice takes this crime seriously and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of anyone who engages in the forced labour and degradation of others."

As part of the plea deal, the defendants were each required to pay the girl more than $US101,000 ($NZ169,377) in restitution.
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